In the early 16th century, da Vinci designed a lesser-known structure: a bridge for the Ottoman Empire that would have been the longest bridge of its time.
…The group built a replica of the bridge, after taking into consideration the materials and construction equipment available 500 years ago and the geological conditions of the Golden Horn, a freshwater estuary in the Bosphorus Sea over which the bridge would’ve been built.
…The only material available at the time, that wouldn’t have collapsed under large loads on such a long bridge, would have been stone. …The researchers also hypothesized that such a bridge would have stood on its own without any paste or material to hold the stone together.
…The da Vinci bridge …would have been the longest of its time.
…Most bridge supports at the time were designed as a semicircular arch and would have required 10 or more piers to support that length of bridge, according to the statement. But da Vinci’s design was a single arch, flattened at the top, that would have been tall enough to allow sailboats to pass underneath.
…Da Vinci’s design and the MIT scientists’ model also included structures called abutments that extended outward on both sides of the ends of the bridge to stabilize it against side-to-side movements, likely because da Vinci knew the region was prone to earthquakes.